Govt proposes to install chip in set-top-boxes, TRAI says send reference for it

The chip would collect data about channels watched and the duration

by Nishant Saxena
Published - Apr 17, 2018 8:57 AM Updated: Apr 17, 2018 8:57 AM

In response to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s proposal to ask DTH operators to install a chip in new set-top-boxes that will collect data about channels watched and the duration, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has said that the ministry may send a reference to it as per the provision of TRAI Act 1997.

The ministry had sent the proposal to TRAI in March. A letter from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), undersigned by Imran Farid, Under Secretary to the Govt. of India, was sent to TRAI on March 12, 2018.

The letter was supposed to include MIB’s views regarding TRAI’s recommendations on “issues related to new DTH licenses.” However, the ministry included two additional proposals in the letter. One of the proposals was to ask “DTH operators to install a chip in the new set-top-boxes which can give data about channels watched and their duration.”

While responding to the proposal, on April 12, 2018, TRAI said, “Regarding asking DTH operators to install a chip in the new set-top-boxes, it is stated that this is a new issue and cannot be part of the reference back.”

“If MIB desires TRAI’s recommendation on this issue, it may send separate reference to TRAI as per the provision of TRAI Act 1997,” it further stated.

The other proposal that MIB included in the letter was to “allow renewal of licence of only those DTH operators who have no dues outstanding payable to the government and are security cleared. Further, nobody will be allowed to operate without the cover of a licence.”

To this proposal, TRAI agreed and said, “this is in-line with the intent of the TRAI recommendations.”

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